Dr Patrice Baptiste: I Aim To Inspire

Dr Patrice Baptiste is a University of London graduate and is now living her dream of being a Doctor in the centre of London. This is her story.

Dr Patrice Baptiste at her graduation ceremony.

My name is Dr. Patrice Baptiste. I graduated from University College London (UCL) during the year 2013. I was born and raised in London and from a young age I worked exceptionally hard to achieve my dream- working as a doctor. I, like many others who lived in my area, (East London) were not blessed with a plethora of opportunities or help to be able to achieve such dreams but I was blessed with an essential support network which included my parents and older brother who not only supported my aspirations but helped me daily in order to succeed.

One of my main aims in life is to be an inspiration to others. I want everyone to know that you can achieve whatever it is you set your mind to and not to let anyone distract you from your goal. I want to especially focus on the young adults who so often succumb to peer pressure and worry about what others may think about them. At college for instance, I did not spend hours in the common room socialising but I spent hours in a quiet room or library studying. I did not focus on what this may have looked like to the other students or my friends but focused on where I wanted to be and that was at university studying medicine. I want to reach the young black students who may be told they are not good enough or clever enough than their counterparts. I want them to realise that they are, in fact descendants of Kings and Queens. They themselves are Kings and Queens. We as black people may not always be celebrated and our culture may not always be highlighted in a positive way but this does not mean we are not great and that we cannot paint a positive picture for the world to see. Instead of hating on one another and trying to belittle one another why do we not share our achievements? Why do we not build each other up and become just as successful as our non-black colleagues? Out of the three hundred students in my year at medical school, only ~ five students were black. Why is that? That is another article in itself and so I will leave that as a rhetorical question for you to ponder.

I must be honest with the young people I am trying to reach. Although I achieved what I set out to do when I was just four years old, my journey has only just begun. Working as a doctor is by no means glamorous. It includes long hours; sacrificing time away from your family and friends. You often miss important occasions like birthdays, weddings, christenings and funerals. Christmas and New Years will most likely be spent working. Many doctors are not as rich as the media would have you believe and if there are any budding future doctors reading this please do not choose this profession because you think you will be rich. Often being wealthy takes many years of countless (expensive in more ways than one!) exams and years of working hard at your speciality. I would also like to draw attention to the government’s proposal at changing the junior doctors’ contract (and no junior does not only apply to the ‘junior doctors’ you may have seen on television) which will reduce pay and increase working hours. Throughout my time working as a doctor I have been frustrated by the lack of gratitude and support the public offer to myself and my fellow colleagues. I did not choose this vocation for gratitude, but working what seems like endless hours, surviving on very little sleep and then not being appreciated makes you question everything you have worked hard for.

I do not regret becoming a doctor and I am so pleased that I have had the opportunity to make a difference albeit small to the lives of the patients I have treated. I hope that in years to come I can help many more. I also hope that I can be a role model for all those young people who have a dream and need someone to look up to. It does upset me when I hear some young people say that they have no inspirational role models. I would say to them that they need to actively seek out role models. By that I mean, do your research, do not wait for the media, (which is often biased) to show you people who are considered role models. Your role model may not be your friend’s role model and vice versa. Look around you; your role model could be your friend sitting right beside you! I take a minute to look at the students I went to school with, the students I studied and socialised with at university. They are all achieving great things and they are my role models! My parents are my role models too. Dr. Barnardo and Mary Seacole were my role models when I was growing up. I also looked up to all those people involved in the civil rights movement. The first Black President of the United States of America is one of the most overt role models we can be given in our time. Be role models to each other.

I really hope that my article stays in your mind, at least for a while. I hope my words make you think about how you can be and continue to be a better person. I hope it encourages you to help your peers and support your friends when they reach their potential. Cheer everyone on. Do not compete with other people but compete with yourself. Be ambitious and work hard. Be innovative. When you wake up in the morning be grateful; think about how you can better yourself and how can you help others. Do not be complacent; never be satisfied. Always strive for more and strive for excellence. Success should have no boundaries. Think about how your actions will impact others. What legacy will you leave behind? We are the future; let’s make it great, let’s make it memorable for the right reasons.